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Cameron Promises Parliament a Swift Response to Riots

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TEHRAN, August 13 (ICANA) – Seeking to reestablish his authority after England’s worst rioting in decades, Prime Minister David Cameron told an emergency session of Parliament Thursday that the authorities would consider curfews, constraining smartphones and social networking sites, and filling some police functions with soldiers to keep more officers on the street.
Saturday, August 13, 2011 8:14:15 PM
Cameron Promises Parliament a Swift Response to Riots

He said he would consult a former New York City and Boston police commissioner, William Bratton, who presided over a record drop in crime in the 1990s, on ways to counter criminal gangs, New York Times reported.

Cameron said police were authorized to use plastic-coated bullets against rioters and that plans were in place to deploy water cannons when appropriate.

“Nothing should be off the table,’’ he said. “Every contingency is being looked at.’’

He promised swift justice, even as the authorities turned to a tough reckoning after the days of rioting, looting, and arson, with courts in several cities open through the night.

The police said more than 1,200 people had been arrested, mostly in London, since the frenzy of violence broke out Saturday. The situation eased only after thousands of police reinforcements flooded the streets of London and other cities.

The convulsions of violence prompted widespread criticism of police for an ineffective initial response and deeper failures including corruption and collusion exposed by the broadening phone hacking scandal.

Few members of British society were spared: Politicians came under fire for failing to break off summer vacations immediately to confront events; and they in turn denounced a society that has allowed hooliganism, public drunkenness, and gang culture, including thuggish behavior toward the weak and disabled.

Cameron echoed some of those criticisms in the marathon appearance in Parliament yesterday, wrapping himself in his Conservative Party’s law-and-order banner to grapple for almost three hours with his most serious political challenge since taking office in May 2010.

For the first time, Cameron said police commanders had acknowledged that they had misjudged the situation and deployed too few officers.

“Initially, the police treated the situation too much as a public order issue rather than essentially one of crime,’’ he told the summoned lawmakers, blaming a wide social breakdown for the violence.

“This is not about poverty, it’s about culture,’’ he said, “a culture that glorifies violence, shows disrespect to authority, and says everything about rights but nothing about responsibilities.

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